Sunday, April 7, 2019

Not Your Big Brothers Blue Jackets; 3 in a Row is a Trend

Wennberg Sits for Texier
The Columbus Blue Jackets have punched their ticket to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.  That, my friends is a trend, and a refreshing one.  Congratulations to the players, coaches, and management for this achievement.  It is colored somewhat by the threat of facing the Tampa juggernaut in the first round. 

And naturally, since I have been critical of Panarin, Artemi Panarin scored a goal, won the shootout on his forehand (his forehand is lethal) and Bobrovsky's stellar play got us into the playoffs against the Rangers.  Panarin continued his good play against Ottawa.  That's fine, I am happy for him, and I am happy for Bob.  Now the real test starts, and now the real evaluation starts.  So they get a clean slate, just like everyone else.

But keep in mind the illusion these two games represents.  Panarin had space to operate.  That space will disappear in the playoffs.  Think back to the Boston game, where every time he touched the puck he was jumped by one, sometimes two Boston players.  That was playoff hockey.  But the slate is clean.

Alexander Wennberg's regular season finally ended with a whimper.  A lost year for him.  He was replaced in the lineup by rookie Alexandre Texier who showed a willingness to shoot, and scored his first NHL goal, thereby getting half of Wennberg's goal total for the year in 2 games.  Ouch.  Wennberg needs a reset.  Well, the playoffs are clean slate, and if he can crack the lineup, he has a chance to make some noise if he decides to shoot the puck.  Hopefully next year goes better for him.

So the second season has started.  All teams are 0-0, and the schedule should drop later today. 

Best of luck Jackets!  No pressure, everyone expects you to lose in 4 games, so relax, have fun, work hard, and play your game.


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